Saturday, October 20, 2018

Sergio four ahead at weather-shortened Valderrama Masters
Sergio Garcia put himself in pole position to secure a hat-trick of Andalucía Masters victories after firing a flawless 64 in his second round to open up a commanding four-shot lead heading into the final round of the weather-shortened Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation.

Defending champion Garcia, who also won the 2011 edition of this event, continued his love affair with Real Club Valderrama on Saturday as he fired seven birdies to match his lowest-ever score at the Spanish course and move to ten under par.

First-round leader Ashley Chesters was the Spaniard's nearest challenger on six under after carding 17 pars and a single birdie in his second round.

A series of weather delays on the first two days prevented Garcia from playing at all on Friday - and after more inclement weather disrupted the early starters again on day three, tournament director José Maria Zamora had already announced the event would be reduced to 54 hoes before Garcia began his second round on Saturday afternoon.
 
Home favourite Garcia made a fast start when he finally got back out on course, chipping in from just off the second green to pick up his first shot of the day before rolling in from six feet at the third to join Chesters on five under.
And after making several good par saves to keep his card clean, Garcia sank his 18-foot birdie putt at the 11th to grab the outright lead on an overcast afternoon.

He then finished his second round with a brilliant burst of scoring, holing from 12 feet at the 14th before reeling off three straight birdies from inside ten feet at the 16th, 17th and 18th to get to ten under par.

Chesters had occupied top spot for most of the first three days after posting an opening 66 on Thursday.
And he impressed again in round two but could only manage one birdie - courtesy of a lovely 20-foot putt at the fourth - and heads into the third round four shots back.
Chesters is looking forward to teeing it up with Garcia on Sunday. He said: "There is only one round to go and I’m not too far off the lead. I’ve got a bit of making up to do so I don’t know if going to 54 holes makes much difference.
"There’s always a chance. There’s not a lot of pressure on me. I’ve had a decent year, I’ve got my card sorted and I’ve got the last few events to aim to get into if I can have a good week here. I’ve not really got a lot to lose so I can have a go tomorrow and see what happens.
"I’ll be playing with Sergio, who was always one of my favourite players when I was growing up. I would imagine there will be quite a lot of Spanish people hoping he will win, so I would imagine it will be a bit different tomorrow."
Spanish pair Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño and Scot Marc Warren had set the early clubhouse target on four under after putting the finishing touches to their second rounds on day three - and they head into the final round in a share of third place.

Fernández-Castaño and Warren came into the week sitting 125th and 144th respectively in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex and require a strong finish to retain their playing privileges.

Shane Lowry and Lee Westwood, who has his son Sam on the bag this week, are another stroke back on three under, one clear of the group containing Frenchman Grégory Bourdy after he closed his second round with a disappointing double bogey.
 
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